President Tsai Ing-wen ranked 15th on The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women in 2017 list released Nov. 1 by Forbes magazine.
Named among the top 20 for the second consecutive year, Tsai moved up two spots from the 2016 edition. Leading the rankings was German Chancellor Angela Merkel, followed by U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Co-Chair Melinda Gates, Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg and General Motors Chairperson and CEO Mary Barra, in that order.
Based on the 2017 list, Forbes also compiled a ranking of the world’s most powerful women politicians, with Tsai in third behind the German and British leaders and ahead of Chilean President Michelle Bachelet in fourth and EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini in fifth. Other prominent figures on the list included Queen Elizabeth II in eighth, Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi in 11th and former U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in 20th.
According to the New York-based publication, Tsai—Taiwan’s first female leader—shattered precedent in December last year by engaging in a telephone conversation with then-U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, the first between the leaders of Taiwan and the U.S. since 1979. During the call, they shared their views on significant issues including the need to boost economic development and strengthen national defense so citizens can enjoy better lives and increased security.
Forbes also highlighted Tsai’s five-plus-two innovative industries initiative, a comprehensive economic revitalization program targeting the five emerging and high-growth sectors of biotech and pharmaceuticals, green energy, national defense, smart machinery and Internet of Things, as well as the promotion of two core concepts: the circular economy and a new paradigm for agricultural development.
According to the magazine, the initiative seems to be paying off, with cross-strait trade up as of July this year. The latest statistics from the Bureau of Foreign Trade under the Ministry of Economic Affairs show that Taiwan’s total trade for the first eight months of 2017 increased 13.1 percent year on year to US$371.24 billion. (http://taiwantoday.tw/news.php?post=124339&unit=2&utm_source=Taiwan )